New to QS, lots of questions

Discussion in 'Lasershow Designer QuickShow' started by tsteele93, Aug 27, 2012.

  1. tsteele93

    tsteele93 New Member

    First, let me say that I am new to projectors and my initial impression of QS was, "Wow! This software is pretty amazing and I can get up and running instantly with no experience whatsoever!" it really is amazing... BUT, as I delved deeper into the program, I ran into some surprising brick walls.

    My perspectives based on being a "computer guy" who generally can figure out software. I also have a number of years experience editing photos, video and audio with professional programs. And a lot of my expectations are based on video editing and photo editing. I expected QS to work very much like those programs because it IS very much like those programs in many ways...

    So I hope this is just my newness and ignorance. But I am starting to feel very fenced in... Hopefully one of the Pangolin fans or reps can show me where I am going wrong... And it is very possible that is the case.

    I'll start with sharing my work. (Yes, it is MY work, i just used QS as the tool to create it - right?) I downloaded some ild files from a laser/projector forum tonight. Including badger's cartoon graphic files. My 5 year-old son loves Robin from Batman & Robin so I was excited to find an ild file of Robin! (Ok, so in this case, it is badger's work, but still...)

    I loaded it into Quick Show as a cue. (Maybe this is where I am going wrong?) Next I loaded it into the frame / animation editor. As the readme file from badger suggested, it needed coloring in and I also wanted to make a few small changes to try and improve my fps by dumbing it down in the hair and a couple of other spots.

    All went well, although I was cursing the kludginess of the editor in some spots, the way you choose and move points is really klunky. Having to lasso a point, then go all the way to the left to choose MOVE (which is what you are gonna be doing 90% of the time anyway) then move it and then there is no way to select the next point to move (I was changing the shape of Robin's glove) except to move the cursor back to lasso, try to lasso the correct point with a SQUARE lasso, and then move back over and choose move... Ouch. (I'll talk more about that below.)

    Anyway, after slowly making the changes I wanted, I went to save the ild file... Nope.

    All I see is the option to save is a qfm (or is it qfn?) file.

    Maybe I am doing it wrong, but is there no way to take a file that I create (or have modified from an ild file - in other words, I'm not trying to distribute one of Pangolin's graphics) and save it as a universal file for others to use?

    I was going to make it available (yeah, I know... everyone is clamoring for a touched-up "Robin" graphic for your shows!) for others in an effort to offer something back to theblaser comunity and not just leach from others. I figure even if I just clean up some files and share them, that is useful, right?

    Except I am starting to think that Pangolin may be tying my hands in an attempt to be sure that I don't share one of the flying pelican animations with someone who hasn't paid for a license!

    Hopefully I am mistaken and I am just doing something wrong...

    Also, I mentioned the frame/animation editor. I can go into detail here...

    I can offer some very hands-on advice about the frame/animation editor! Again, much of my expectations come from working with photoshop or similar photo editing software.

    1. Please enable CTRL-Z for undo. I tend to click, mess up, CTRL-Z and click again, hopefully in the right place. As it is, I have to click the wrong place, move the mouse all the way back up to the top of the screen and click undo, then move back to the wrong place and click again, and then back to the top to click undo. With CTRL-Z I can keep the mouse where I made the mistake, type CTRL-Z and move the mouse just a fraction from where it was to what is hopefully the right place. And besides, wikipedia says... "Control Z is one of the original "sacred" keybindings defined in the first GUI to be widely used, that of the original Macintosh". I have since learned that I can use ALT-BACKSPACE to do this...

    2. Redo? Is it possible to redo things? Apparently not. I would argue that many times when editing a frame, you change something, click on SHOW OUTPUT and see if you like it. If not, you change it back, if so - you keep it. And sometimes you want to go back and forth between a change and back. If I can see the output, then make a change and compare, and go back and forth kind of like at the eye doctors office. Being able to go back and forth between changes is very valuable.

    3. Text is implemented very rudimentarily. Is that a word? How about persistence? If I type BEACH and then UNDO and start over, it would be nice if BEACH was still in the text box the next time - or if there were a switch allowing that. Overall text could use a lot of work. Also, if you click text, it puts a dialog box right smack dab in the middle of the screen. Sometimes the text isn't even on the zoomed in section I am working on. If I move that box over to the side and click on import a font, it opens a new dialog box right back in the center of the screen. And there is no preview of the font. I can't scroll through the fonts and see the change in font on screen. Text needs a lot of fine tuning.

    4. Rotation, how about some sort of angle finder so we can see if we are 30 degrees, 45 degrees, 58.9 degrees or 90 degrees. Etc... Useful when rotating ANYTHING. In other words, if I type a word - "BEACH" and I want to rotate it exactly 90 degrees... It would be nice to have a dialog box that I can enter 30 degrees, or 45 or 90... Or 34.7...

    5. SHIFT KEY held down makes a straight line... If I hold the SHIFT KEY down after clicking somewhere, then my next click will be exactly in a straight line, preferably an exactly horizontal or vertical line. So if I want to draw a horizontal line that is perfect, I click (or is it ctrl-click?) and then hold the shift key and it will lock the next click into either a horizontal line or a vertical line - depending on how I move the mouse. You might even add 30,45 and 60 if you are feeling feisty.

    6. Selecting and moving points. This is a biggie. It is painfully tedious to use the (square) lasso tool to try and select a point and then go back to the toolbar and select MOVE and then move that point and then go back and select lasso and select a different point and then go back to the toolbar and select MOVE and repeat for each change. When selecting a point is selected, the default should be MOVE. If that isn't doable, then let me program it.

    Maybe ALT-LEFTCLICK would select a point. Or I could make CTRL-LEFTCLICK would let me MOVE. Editing is tedious right now. And when I'm done I can't seem to save it in a universal format.

    :-(

    Just a few thoughts after trying to trace a bitmap.

    I'm open to being beaten over the head and being told why my ideas are stupid, or impossible to do even though they seem commonplace in other software. Just let me know if I am doing something wrong or if there is a better way to accomplish my goals and I will try to help you see from a perspective of a guy who is new to all this and felt like I was digging pretty deep into my wallet for $600 for this software and DAC. For me, $600 is professional grade software. Maybe not so for this kind of software? Let me have it...

    :)

    Tom
     
  2. vIQleS

    vIQleS Active Member

    I encountered this the other day, i wasn't actually trying to save it as an ILD, so I didn't really try to figure it out at the time, but I'm going to want to at some stage.

    Is there some sort of export option or something?
     
  3. Pangolin

    Pangolin Staff Member

    It's possible to export into the LD2000 file format which is also compatible with all Pangolin products. Just click on a cue, and then go to the FILE menu, and then click on "Export"

    Well "universal file" may be in the eye of the beholder... Note that the ILDA file format itself is nearly 25 years old (and I know, since I was technical committee chairman during its inception and development) and yet, QS is only a few years old.

    When you load a file into QuickShow, we embed many more things into the data to ensure consistent playback and expected results. The additional data includes things having to do with color, playback rate, scan speed, and other display-related things. None of these are included in the ILDA file format.

    To give you the quickest answer possible, it is that we consider the ILDA file format to be obsolete. It has caused a lot of people problems insomuch as giving unexpected results (for example, with color, scan speed, etc.). Pangolin must support what is now more than 22,000 clients. If many clients have problems caused by the ILDA file format, then it is a lot of phone calls and emails that we must answer caused by the inadequacies of a file format that isn't even our format in the first place.

    For this reason, we do not support exporting to the ILDA format.

    Sure it is, and we would encourage that you do this through the Pangolin Shows Portal, which now has thousands of users sharing hundreds of animations and even complete laser shows -- all of which are 100% free of charge. If you haven't already found it, you can find it at www.pangolinshows.com

    Yes, there is another keyboard equivalent for Undo, but we agree that CTRL+Z is more universal. Thanks for the suggestion!


    QuickShow is intended to be software for beginners. And as far as we are able to tell, it is the lowest cost (or among the lowest) commercial laser software available. Because of this, there are inherent limitations.

    It could be that "rudimentary" is what you are looking for. However, text is one of the most heralded things in QuickShow and I don't know of another LASER software package (other than BEYOND) which does text better, easier, or faster than QuickShow.

    The points you tried to make are not made very well -- only because forum posts have severe limitations on the information that can be effectively conveyed. We'd like to speak directly with you by telephone or Skype, so that we can understand your points better. Where there are opportunities for improvement, we'd like to take those opportunities.

    Sure, we agree. LD2000 and BEYOND has this, but QuickShow does not.

    QuickShow is made for DJs and folks who need to do laser shows very quickly. I am wondering how many of our DJ customers even know what 30 degrees looks like <half kidding> =)

    But seriously, from the questions you are asking and points you are making, it could be that you need something more than QuickShow, and I'd recommend you get in touch with us directly to discuss this. We offer *very* attractive upgrade plans.

    We can't understand the question or the point. Again, forum posts have their limitations... We'd recommend contacting us directly by voice.


    I think there are tools that you are not quite using. But in any event, I'd say, contact us directly and we'll put you on a BETA team where these suggestions can help in a more meaningful way.

    Yes, you pegged it right there. Guess how many millions of clients Adobe has? Guess how many full time employees Autodesk has?

    We agree that $600 is a lot of money for software that you would find on store shelves, but with the relatively small customer base for laser software, and relatively small number of developers a niche company like Pangolin has, we believe $600 is really very little money. Moreover as far as we can tell by surveying the marketplace, it is less than competitors (for a product that does something vaguely similar). And finally, when Pangolin started in this business nearly 27 years ago, it would cost you $27,000 for a Laser Media ZAP system which did only a millionth of what QuickShow does.

    We appreciate the input of clients, and we take this seriously. In fact, QuickShow is the result of customer feedback, and people really sick of other software that was on the market at this price point. We believe QuickShow works better than any other low-end software, and we are continuing to develop QuickShow as well as our other software. This development comes as a result of our own ideas, but also a lot of great feedback from clients too! With that in mind, I hope you will contact us directly so we can understand your ideas more intimately!

    Best regards,

    William Benner
     

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